Carrots or Sticks? The Effectiveness of Subsidies and Tolls in Congestion Games

@article{Ferguson2020CarrotsOS,
  title={Carrots or Sticks? The Effectiveness of Subsidies and Tolls in Congestion Games},
  author={Bryce L. Ferguson and Philip N. Brown and Jason R. Marden},
  journal={2020 American Control Conference (ACC)},
  year={2020},
  pages={1853-1858}
}
Are rewards or penalties more effective in influencing user behavior? This work compares the effectiveness of subsidies and tolls in incentivizing users in congestion games. The predominantly studied method of influencing user behavior in network routing problems is to institute taxes which alter users' observed costs in a manner that causes their self-interested choices to more closely align with a system-level objective. Another feasible method to accomplish the same goal is to subsidize the… Expand
Carrots or Sticks? The Effectiveness of Subsidies and Tolls in Congestion Games
TLDR
This work compares the effectiveness of subsidies and tolls in incentivizing users in congestion games and shows that, when users behave similarly and predictably, subsidies offer comparable performance guarantees to tolls while requiring smaller monetary transactions with users; however, in the presence of unknown player heterogeneity, subsidies fail to offer the same performance as tolls. Expand
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Carrots or Sticks? The Effectiveness of Subsidies and Tolls in Congestion Games
TLDR
This work compares the effectiveness of subsidies and tolls in incentivizing users in congestion games and shows that, when users behave similarly and predictably, subsidies offer comparable performance guarantees to tolls while requiring smaller monetary transactions with users; however, in the presence of unknown player heterogeneity, subsidies fail to offer the same performance as tolls. Expand
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This work considers network congestion games in which a finite number of non-cooperative users select paths and shows the existence of weakly-optimal taxes for single-source network games and shows that the cases of homogeneous and heterogeneous users differ sharply as far as the presence of strongly-optical taxes is concerned. Expand
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It is asked if it is possible to positively influence social behavior with no risk of unintentionally incentivizing pathological behavior, and a type of pathological network in which all locally-computed tolling functions can cause perverse incentives for heterogeneous price-sensitive user populations is exhibited. Expand
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This paper studies the application of taxes to a network-routing game, and it is shown that it is possible to design taxes that guarantee that network flows are arbitrarily close to optimal flows, despite the fact that agents' tax-sensitivities are unknown to us. Expand
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A well-studied and promising method is that of altering users' perceived costs by means of taxes, which proposes a variety of approaches to align the emergent selfish behaviour with the desired system objective. Expand
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The authors' bounds show that for atomic congestion games and cost-sharing games, the robust price of anarchy gets worse with increasing altruism, while for valid utility games, it remains constant and is not affected by altruism. Expand
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